15.4 Current and Future Trends in Coastal-Adaptation Technology Transfer
Chapter 1 identified three fundamentally different pathways
of technology transfer. These pathways are based on the stakeholder as the primary
driving force of the technology transfer: the government, the private sector
or the community. Most of the literature describing and analysing climate-relevant
technology transfer deals with mitigation technologies. In technology transfer
for mitigation, the private sector usually plays a crucial part throughout the
entire pathway from development to diffusion. Market opportunities, investment
procedures and profitability criteria are key words to discuss the incentives
and behaviour of both the mitigation-technology provider and recipient.
Most coastal impacts of climate change will impinge on collective goods and
systems, such as food and water security, biodiversity and human health and
safety. These impacts could affect commercial interests indirectly, but usually
the strongest and most direct incentives to adapt are with the public sector.
Coastal management is therefore usually a public-sector responsibility, and
the planning and design of coastal adaptation to climate change needs to be
tuned to existing policy criteria and development objectives (Klein et al.,
1999). Only in cases where a particular stretch of coastline provides direct
financial benefits is the private sector likely to invest in coastal management.
Prime examples of this case are coastal tourist resorts, for which beach erosion
represents a direct threat to their profitability, and ports and harbours, which
will have to raise their infrastructure as sea level rises. In most industrialised
countries, however, the private sector is typically not the stakeholder that
drives technology transfer for coastal adaptation, because benefits are small
or uncertain and action is expected from the government to protect private-sector
interests. In developing countries, the private sector is generally a less significant
economic force so again governments are expected to lead the way in climate-change
Coastal-adaptation technology transfer is therefore predominantly government-driven
(or donor-driven). Case Studies 20 and 21
in Chapter 16 provide illustrations of this. Community-driven
pathways may be found in places where a local need for adaptation is recognised
but no government or private-sector interest is anticipated. Case
Study 16 presents an example of collective action and joint management to
combat erosion in Tuvalu. On Viti Levu (Fiji), a traditional village community
has been actively involved in a mangrove rehabilitation project. This donor-funded
project has been strongly driven by local concerns, taking into account the
particular cultural and political settings (Nunn, 1999).
Many of the technologies listed in Section 15.3 have been
applied to adapt to the effects of climate variability in coastal zones. The
emphasis has traditionally been on protecting developed areas using hard structures.
The need for technology transfer to plan, design and build these structures
depends on their required scale and level of sophistication. At a small scale,
local communities can use readily available materials to build protective structures
(Mimura and Nunn, 1998). However, these communities often lack the information
to know whether or not these structures are appropriate and whether or not their
design standards are acceptable. For larger-scale, more sophisticated structures,
technical advice is required, as well as a contracting company to build the
structure. Developing countries may receive bilateral or multilateral funding
to meet some or all costs involved.
Until recently, it was rarely questioned whether a country's entire coastline
could be protected effectively if optimal management conditions prevail. It
has become clear, however, that even with massive amounts of external funding,
coastlines in the developing world (particularly of archipelagic countries)
cannot be effectively protected by hard structures. In addition, increasing
awareness of unwanted effects of hard structures on erosion and sedimentation
patterns has led to growing recognition of the benefits of "soft"
protection (e.g., beach nourishment, wetland restoration and creation) and of
the adaptation strategies retreat and accommodate (Capobianco and Stive, 1997).
An increasing number of private companies are now discovering market opportunities
for implementing soft-protection options. Interest in the retreat and accommodate
strategies is also growing, but markets for these are as yet less developed.
In spite of this trend to consider adaptation options other than hard protection,
many structures are still being built without a full evaluation of the alternatives.
A second trend in coastal adaptation is an increasing reliance on technologies
to develop and manage information (Wright and Bartlett, 1999). This trend stems
from the recognition that designing an appropriate technology to protect, retreat
or accommodate requires a considerable amount of data on a range of coastal
parameters, as well as a good understanding of the uncertainties involved in
the impacts to be addressed (Capobianco, 1999). National, regional and global
monitoring networks are being set up to help to assess adaptation needs and
opportunities. In the Caribbean, for example, developing information has been
presented as the first phase of a regional adaptation process and as such has
been found eligible for funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) (see
Case Study 20).
Thirdly, many efforts are now initiated to enhance awareness of the need for
appropriate coastal adaptation, often as maladaptive practices are becoming
apparent. For example, before a new hospital was built in Kiribati in 1992,
a substantial site-selection document had been prepared, examining numerous
aspects of three alternative sites but without consideration of coastal processes.
A serious shoreline erosion problem advancing rapidly to within eight metres
of the hospital was discovered by 1995 (Forbes and Hosoi, 1995). Efforts to
enhance awareness include national and international workshops and conferences,
training programmes, on-line courses and technical assistance and capacity building
as part of bilateral or multilateral projects. In view of the many sectoral
interests in coastal zones it will become increasingly important to involve
decision-makers without direct responsibility for coastal issues and other stakeholders
in this ongoing learning process (Humphrey and Burbridge, 1999; King, 1999).